I know of Eugene Ahn thanks to his podcast War Rocket Ajax, which he hosts alongside Chris Sims. Two weeks ago I bought his debut album, The War For infinity. Although all the tracks are available streaming online, the thing is a concept album, and it requires the uninterrupted listening I get when walking with an mp3 player, not when sitting in front of the distraction box that is a computer.
Concept album? Well, essentially this is a 21st century hip-hop retelling of the Infinity Gauntlet, the 1990s Marvel comics mini-series where, as far as I can tell, Jim Starlin retold once more the story of a big battle for the fate of the universe between his doomed messiah figure, Adam Warlock, and his Darkseid-ripoff evil god figure, Thanos the lover (literally!) of Death personified. And the awesome thing about Ege’s album is how the modern nerdcore hip-hop delivery manages to convey Jim Starlin’s 70s-era Cosmic themes, which always held a distinct dark seam beneath the space opera superhero bombast (Starlin wrote The Death of Captain Marvel, a graphic novel where one of the characters most closely associated with him dies from cancer).
The deluxe version of The War For infinity includes a whole extra album of material by Euge mixed by DJ Empirical, and while it’s also quite enjoyable (I really like the mix of Smash Gordon, available in a different version on Euge’s blog), it mostly served to highlight the importance of Euge’s two collaborators, producer Ruckus Roboticus and guest MC Tribe One in the role of Demonus (the album’s version of Thanos; sounds dumb but grows on you) to the success of the debut.
But as a listener to War Rocket Ajax, I already know that Euge can pick ’em.